Wisconsin woman dies after saving 4-year-old son from dog attack

BOWLER, Wis. — A Wisconsin mother died Thursday, eight days after the family’s pit bull attacked her 4-year-old son, and she intervened.

According to authorities, Heather Pingel, 35, lost both her arms following the Dec. 8 animal attack and never recovered from her extensive injuries, WSAW reported.

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Shannon Pingel confirmed her sister’s death to the Wausau Daily Herald.

Per the incident report, Heather Pingel’s boyfriend, Shane Bernarde, arrived at the Bowler home moments after the couple’s child fell down the steps. The family dog then bit the boy, and Heather Pingel was mauled by the animal as she tried to shield her son from further harm, WSAW reported.

“She is the bravest, strongest mother I know to do that for her child; she risked her life to save him,” Shannon Pingel told the Daily Herald. “She is a hero.”

The child, identified as Damion Bernarde, received roughly 70 stitches to his leg following the incident, but he is back home with family, the newspaper reported.

“She was always there to help people whenever she could. Her kids were everything to her. She loved them so fiercely, as she demonstrated by giving her life so her son would survive,” Jennifer Person, Heather Pingel’s cousin, told WSAW via email.

According to the incident report, a witness told police that the dog had a history of aggression.

Pingel and Bernarde’s 5-year-old daughter, Carmen Bernarde, was at school at the time of the attack, the Daily Herald reported.

Shane Bernarde, who was also bitten by the dog during the incident, told police that he shot the animal with a pistol before they arrived, the newspaper reported.

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